What a perfect book to have read during the close of the 2016 Presidential election! Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology, by Edwin L Battistella, is a review and discussion about the nature of apology. In this work Battistella uses a technique of presenting apologies offered by public individuals followed by analysis of the elements of those apologies. This evaluation identifies the components and structure of a sincere, successful apology, and what separates it from apologies that are insincere and fail because they may only serve as an excuse or a means of self-justification and self-defense.
As is noted in his discussions the consequences of our conversations and communications with others can result in the recipient taking offense. When one offends and “we feel embarrassment, guilt, shame, and a desire to make things right” by taking responsibility for the transgression we can “effect a reconciliation in which the offended and offender reaffirm common values and mutual worth.” Although Edwin Battistella is a professor of Humanities and Culture at Southern Oregon University, the structure of this book is easy and enjoyable to read. It allows one to readily identify the elements of apology (transgression, call to apology, apology, response, and reconciliation), the nuances of the process, the failures, pseudo-apology and refusal to apologize; all elements of this most recent Presidential campaign.
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